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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Magic Hoop, written and illustrated by Chloe and Mick Inkpen. Harper, 2011. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Beans chased Zoe all the way around the garden. She was beginning to wish she'd never invented this silly game. She threw the hoop, closed her eyes and hoped for the best...

But she was in for a surprise..."

We call those little dots cliff-hangers! They show us there IS a surprise waiting for us when we turn the page. By the time we get to this pause in the action, kids will be rocking in their seats, just waiting for the next great change. After all, it is a magic hoop!

When Zoe first finds the hoop she does her best to encourage her dog Beans to get some exercise by hopping on through it. Beans is not that energetic. So, Zoe throws Binky Boo in an effort to entice Beans to make his way through to where Binky Boo now lies, looking suspiciously like a rabbit. A handful of Choccy Bears is enough incentive to get Beans up and active. When he gets to the other side of the hoop, Beans has also changed. Zoe is delighted with her new rabbit friend.

With each jump, Beans shape shifts. First a rabbit, then a mouse. When he becomes a jaw-snapping crocodile, Zoe tires of the game and wants her old dog back. But the surprises are not yet complete. As Beans into an elephant, he also faces big trouble. The hoop is too small and Beans is stuck!

OOPS! Now, what? Zoe does her best to help her best friend get free. But nothing seems to work. A diet won't do it. In fact, it encourages ravenous consumption of five additional bags of Choccy Bears, and a sudden spike in weight. What now?

I like the font changes which will help the reader lend great expression and drama to the story. We met these most appealing characters yesterday and apparently we will meet them again. There are four books from this delightful father and daughter team, and they will garner fans with each new story. Appealing artwork, endearing characters and magic...what more could we ask?

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